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View Full Version : What is the difference between a Baptist and a Presbyterian?



grizz101
Jan 17th 2009, 09:37 PM
Here's the deal..

My whole family is Presbyterian, and I go to a baptist school. From what I've seen, Presbyterian's are generally liberal, while Baptist's are very conservative.

Basically, I'm here to ask if there is anything else I need to know other than that? I haven't really ever thought about what I fall under, I'm just focusing on following Christ right now, but I am interested in this..

mcgyver
Jan 18th 2009, 02:45 AM
I can't tell you all the differences, but here is a list of what almost all Baptist churches hold as a common belief.

1. Biblical Authority- The Bible is the final authority in all matters of belief and practice because the Bible is inspired by God and bears the absolute authority of God Himself. Whatever the Bible affirms, Baptists accept as true. No human opinion or decree of any church group can override the Bible. Even creeds and confessions of faith, which attempt to articulate the theology of Scripture, do not carry Scripture's inherent authority. 2 Timothy 3:15-17; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Peter 1:20, 21.

2. Autonomy of the Local Church- The local church is an independent body accountable to the Lord Jesus Christ, the head of the church. All human authority for governing the local church resides within the local church itself. Thus the church is autonomous, or self-governing. No religious hierarchy outside the local church may dictate a church's beliefs or practices. Autonomy does not mean isolation. A Baptist church may fellowship with other churches around mutual interests and in an associational tie, but a Baptist church cannot be a "member" of any other body. Colossians 1:18; 2 Corinthians 8:1-5, 19, 23.

3. Priesthood of the Believer- "Priest" is defined as "one authorized to perform the sacred rites of a religion, especially as a mediator between humans and God." Every believer today is a priest of God and may enter into His presence in prayer directly through our Great High Priest, Jesus Christ. No other mediator is needed between God and people. As priests, we can study God's Word, pray for others, and offer spiritual worship to God. We all have equal access to God-whether we are clergy or laity. 1 Peter 2:5, 9; Revelation 5:9, 10.

4. Two Ordinances- The local church should practice two ordinances: (1) baptism of believers by immersion in water, identifying the individual with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection, and (2) the Lord's Supper, or communion, commemorating His death for our sins and His imminent return. Matthew 28:19, 20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-32.

5. Individual Soul Liberty- Every individual, whether a believer or an unbeliever, has the liberty to choose what he believes is right in the religious realm. No one should be forced to assent to any belief against his will. Baptist have always opposed religious persecution. However, this liberty does not exempt one from responsibility to the Word of God or from accountability to God Himself. Romans 14:5, 12; 2 Corinthians 4:2; Titus 1:9.

6. Saved, Baptized Church Membership- Local church membership is restricted to individuals who give a believable testimony of personal faith in Christ and have publicly identified themselves with Him in believer's baptism. When the members of a local church are believers, a oneness in Christ exists, and the members can endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Acts 2:41-47; 1 Corinthians 12:12; 2 Corinthians 6:14; Ephesians 4:3.

7. Two Offices- The Bible mandates only two offices in the church-pastor and deacon. The three terms-"pastor," "elder," and "bishop," or "overseer"-all refer to the same office. The two offices of pastor and deacon exist within the local church, but not as a hierarchy either outside or within the local church. Pastors and Deacons are to be “Servant Leaders” within the church. 1 Timothy 3:1-13; Acts 20:17-38; Philippians 1:1.

8. Separation of Church and State- God established both the church and the civil government, and He gave each its own distinct sphere of operation. The government's purposes are outlined in Romans 13:1-7 and the church's purposes in Matthew 28:19-20. Neither should control the other, nor should there be an alliance between the two. Christians in a free society can properly influence government towards righteousness, which is not the same as a denomination or group of churches controlling the government. Matthew 22:15-22; Acts 15:17-29.

I hope that helps a bit.

crossnote
Jan 18th 2009, 06:34 AM
There are liberal Baptist as well as conservative Presbyterians. Each group must be looked into on an individual basis, although I would say as a whole the Baptists tend to be more conservative but often more legalistic. 6 of one -half dozen of the othe other. The more conservative groups you will probably find is the OPC for Presbyterians and Reformed Baptists for Baptists.
Each group has their pet doctrines so it is a good thing to put on your Berean Beanie when approaching them.

And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
(Act 17:10-11)

Followtheway
Jan 18th 2009, 09:41 PM
In 1 Corinthians chapter 1 and chapter 3 the first thing it addresses is divisions in the church. These are seen as the many different denominations that basically split up the body of Christ as we know it. In fact there is a saying in the US that goes united we stand divided we fall. What we do know is that Jesus came to break the bonds of any religion and in James we learn that pure religion is taking care of the widows and orphans and having spotless faith. We see that the relationship that the Lord wants us to have with him is most important.

thepenitent
Jan 18th 2009, 10:51 PM
Here's the deal..

My whole family is Presbyterian, and I go to a baptist school. From what I've seen, Presbyterian's are generally liberal, while Baptist's are very conservative.

Basically, I'm here to ask if there is anything else I need to know other than that? I haven't really ever thought about what I fall under, I'm just focusing on following Christ right now, but I am interested in this..

Classic Presbyterianism is reformed (Calvinist) theology. While there have always been many reformed Baptist Churches (mine for one) I'm not sure it's necessary or even the norm.

Psalms Fan
Jan 20th 2009, 02:56 AM
The Baptists come from the Anabaptists, which means "baptized again". They split from other churches in England because they believed that those baptized as infants didn't receive a proper baptism and had to be "baptized again".

"Presbyterian" comes from the Greek word often translated as "elder" in the NT. It is a church whose leaders are "elders". There are "ruling elders" and "teaching elders" most commonly known as pastors.

That is why each group has the particular name that they have.

Presbyterian churches, by and large, baptize infants. Many Baptist churches have elders. Most Baptist churches are more conservative. Most particular Presbyterian denominations are also pretty conservative. It is only the PCUSA (Presbyterian Church, USA) that is liberal (but not all of its members), and it is the one that is typically thought of when people think of "Presbyterians".

I was a member of the PCA (Presbyterian Church in America) for about 5 years. They are my favorite Presbyterian group. They are far from liberal, but by and large they are also far from legalistic. They're a really good group. There's also the OPC (R.C. Sproul is part of that group). There's the ARP (Associate Reformed Presbyterian). The Presbyterians are sometimes called the "split P's".

The Anabaptists were originally calvinist, as the Presbyterians are. The SBC (Southern Baptist Convention) was originally officially calvinist. The older Baptist confessions were calvinist. Now very few of them are.

grit
Jan 20th 2009, 01:01 PM
What is the difference between a Baptist and a Presbyterian?


Here's the deal..

My whole family is Presbyterian, and I go to a baptist school. From what I've seen, Presbyterian's are generally liberal, while Baptist's are very conservative.

Basically, I'm here to ask if there is anything else I need to know other than that? I haven't really ever thought about what I fall under, I'm just focusing on following Christ right now, but I am interested in this..

Yeah, I’m one of those very conservative Presbyterians who doesn’t consider himself very legalistic at all. I consider myself far more conservative than most Baptists I’ve fellowshipped with in Baptist churches, as well as more conservative in some ways than many of my congregants in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). [The Orthodox Presbyterians are generally regarded as more conservative than the PCA.] I suppose a lot of labeling depends on our various cultures of definitions of terms, which can be quite diverse. The differences between any two of us Christians, here at Bibleforums or in any grouping of Christians, can be considerable, and can be enough to rightly and peaceably facilitate our gathering together in groups of similar belief. Even as unified followers of Christ we each have peculiarities that help define our relationship with God and one another and make us of unique and precious relevance. I think it can be just as divisive as anything else to consider that “I follow Christ, and the various denominations of Christianity are ‘wrong’ to rally ‘round those peculiarities of belief that distinguish them from one another.”

When it generally comes to distinguishing factors between Presbyterians and Baptists there’s often as much valid ‘segregation’ between groups within each of these as there are between them – I mean, often the differences of beliefs and practices between folk calling themselves Presbyterian are as significant as those between Presbyterians and Baptists, and the same can be said of various Baptist groups. Still, as for a “need to know”, I think you’ve chosen a wise ‘path’ to follow Christ, especially since most Baptists and Presbyterians would say that’s their focus too, and that’s why they found it necessary to rally together into these distinct groups – that they might each better follow what they belief they’ve been led of God to practice in following Christ.

It indeed is a theological difference in belief about baptism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baptism) (wiki link) that initially separated Baptists from Presbyterians. These distinctions are important to me, and I find them important in the Christian Scriptures. However, it sounds to me like your particular experience and circumstances might highlight an even more important distinction (to me) between considerations of liberal theology vs. conservative theology, which is not really a Presbyterian vs. Baptist issue, but cuts more to the basics of Christian theology in considerations of the Bible, Jesus, the Gospel, and such – depending on how we define liberalism (http://www.theopedia.com/Liberalism) (Theopedia link) and conservative (http://www.conservapedia.com/Conservative_Christianity) Christianity (Conservapedia link).

Mike T
Jan 20th 2009, 06:33 PM
You are focused on the right thing. I am a Southern Baptists. But, in God's eyes denominations do not matter. Denominations were made by man to satisfy their own desires. The important thing is that we believe in Jesus as our Lord and Saviour and try to follow the Holy Spirits guidance.

SnakeWesker
Jan 20th 2009, 07:49 PM
You are focused on the right thing. I am a Southern Baptists. But, in God's eyes denominations do not matter. Denominations were made by man to satisfy their own desires. The important thing is that we believe in Jesus as our Lord and Saviour and try to follow the Holy Spirits guidance.
What a first post! And very, very true.

Arguing about little things is really irrelevant. As long as we agree on Jesus being God on Earth, we are saved in His eyes.

JesusPhreak27
Jan 20th 2009, 08:44 PM
I attend and am a Deacon at a Presbyterian church up here in North Dakota -- notice I didnt claim to be Presbyterian though.....I am a Christian that happens to worship in a Presbyterian Church.....

Anyways.... Baptists (I grew up in a Baptist Church in Northeast Ohio) can tend to be VERY works oriented at times...... Not a generalization but if you look at some of the doctrine they hold it seems that way.

The church I attend here is VERY conservative, though the PCUSA -- which my church is a member of --is more liberal. We are currently going through the process of leaving PCA for another organization.

The problem with PCA is their liberal tendencies! They have voted over the last few years to allow Gay, Lesbian and transgendered Pastors and have changed the name of the Holy Trinity to a more "unisexual" name. Please dont ask what the new name is as I have no idea.

Now comes the part that many do not know:

Though PCA at the national level is making these decisions it is up to each individual Assembly (region) and the individual churches to decide whether they will follow it. For example.... my church refuses to allow a gay pastor or to change how we refer to the Holy Spirit.

The problem comes when it comes time to get a new Pastor. If our pastor was to leave PCA would assign us a new pastor and that person may be gay.

Most people in the Presbyterian Church as a whole are not this bunch of liberals that the media has made us out to be..... most of us are the same as our brothers and sisters in different denominations. Its that small minority that give us the different name....

grit
Jan 21st 2009, 03:04 PM
I'm sorry, JP27, but you've got your Presbyterians jumbled up there a bit I believe. The PCA (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presbyterian_Church_in_America) (Presbyterian Church in America)(wiki link) is the conservative group (http://www.tateville.com/churches.html) (a Primer link), in contrast with the PC(USA) (Presbyterian Church, in the United States of America), often simply described as PC. The PC(USA) is the somewhat larger and usually far more liberal group (as you've described) formed through a merger of the old Northern Presbyterians and the Southern Presbyterians years ago. It was talk of this unifying of the more conservative Southern Presbyterians with the outspokenly liberal Northern Presbyterians that led many conservative Presbyterians to initially form the conservative PCA.
:hug:

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